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Catherine Mary Douge Hicks Williams

(1832-1884) Catherine Mary was born in Albany, NY to activist parents, Susan and Michael Douge, who were dedicated to improving the status for the African Americans in their community. Catherine, also referred to as Mary, followed their example.

After completing her education, she taught at the Wilburforce School for African American children. At a young age Mary lost her husband (Henry Hicks) and first child to illnesses. She herself contracted tuberculosis but continued to serve others. After the Civil War she spent several years teaching formerly enslaved adults and children in Virginia and South Carolina.

Returning to Albany, Mary, now remarried to Andrew Williams, became involved in the suffrage movement. When NY passed the School Suffrage Law in 1880, she and her mother worked to have women of color register to vote. They proudly voted in the school commissioner election in April of that year. Mary was elected Vice President of the Albany Woman Suffrage Society. It was one of the few organizations that did not separate women of color from white.

Mary addressed the statewide Woman Suffrage Convention in October, 1881. Her contributions to equality and social justice were noted in her obituary. Mary is included (under the name C. Mary Williams) in the 1998 book "Refusing Ignorance; The Struggle to Educate Black Children in Albany, New York 1816-1873" by Marian I. Hughes.


Albany Rural Cemetery

Sec. 99 Lot 3

123-125 Menand Road, Menands, NY 12211

Albany County

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